We're here to clear up the muddy waters surrounding the second most consumed liquid in the world (no, alcohol is not #1).
BS Tea Fact #1
Orange Pekoe tastes like oranges. Duh.
Orange Pekoe believe it or not is a scale on a tea grading system, and not a flavour. The bright folks who started selling tea in presealed tea bags thought it would be kind of funny to mess with our age old system. Real fact: the stuff in tea bags is actually called 'fannings' or 'dust'. Not so appealing now is it?
BS Tea Fact #3
Tea has an expiry date and can go 'bad'
By law most manufacturers of goods (including dry goods) need to supply a best before date on their products being sold in stores. Well before the invention of this standardized process tea was being sold and consumed past these due dates. Your tea will still be safe, albeit it may lose a bit of its flavour if its scented.
BS Tea Fact #4
Black Tea, Oolong Tea, Green Tea, and White Tea all come from different plants
A big nope here too. The above listed teas are all the same! They come from the tea plant- camelia sinensis.
BS Tea Fact #5
Black tea is fermented
Black tea undergoes a process of oxidation that changes the colour of the leaf from green to black. It's an aerobic condition whereas fermentation is a chemical breakdown of the leaf by microorganisms
BS Tea Fact #6
White tea contains less caffeine than other teas
Yes and no. This answer varies greatly depending on many factors including steep time, and leaf quality/type. In the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Vol. 32, October 2008 the research found that some white tea contained as much or higher amounts of caffeine when compared to some black teas.
BS Tea Fact #7
Herbal tea is a thing
Tea purists are sure to be shaking their tea cups and saucers at this claim. Only leaves from the camelia sinensis plant (see BS Fact #4 above) can claim to be the rightful heir to the name 'tea'. Anything else is simply a tisane or herbal infusion (see what we did there?)
BS Tea Fact #8
Oolong tea helps with weight loss
Contrary to what Oprah or other celebrities might say, this tea isn't any more magical than black, green, or white tea. It's called Slimming tea but it's a marketing term that sells more tea. They all help you to hydrated and healthy.
BS Tea Fact #9
Milk destroys the health benefits of tea
There is no evidence that it reduces the health benefits of tea. If anything it increases the Britishness of your tea.
BS Tea Fact #10
Chai tea. It's called chai tea.
The next time someone asks for a 'chai tea' you've got level 9 clearance to shut them down. They might want a nice cup of chai, which in India is called masala chai (spiced tea) but saying 'tea tea' deserves to be corrected. It's the only way we can curb the spread of this plague of humanity called disinformation.
BS Tea Fact #11
English Breakfast is a flavored tea
Well yes and no. It's flavored in the sense that it has a distinctly different and full bodied feel, but there are no additional flavors that are added. It's actually just tea from different tea growing regions (usually light teas blended with more robust teas). The flavor originates from what the wine folks called the terroir of the plant.
BS Tea Fact #12
Slurping tea is rude
We're giving you permission to slurp to your hearts content. Slurping actually helps to coat your mouth and olfactory glands with the full flavor while cooling down the tea.